As meal kits from companies, such as Blue Apron and Plated, begin to appear on supermarket shelves, HelloFresh will soon sell its meal kits in Stop & Shop and Giant Food. The company’s kits will come to just under 600 stores — primarily in the Northeast, CNBC reported. With its retail expansion, HelloFresh has increased its network to 11 facilities — up from five. HelloFresh is also looking to grow further in the future, and plans to experiment with packaging and recipes to determine what attracts shoppers and what works well for retailers.
The news comes as Albertsons said in April that it planned to offer Plated’s meal kits in “hundreds” of its stores. Customers will also be able to order the kits for delivery via Instacart, CNBC reported.
“This was the reason to do the deal,” Plated Co-founder and CEO Josh Hix told CNBC. “From day one, we wanted to use their stores and their assets to build this omnichannel experience.”
In April, Albertsons did not say how many stores will carry the meal kits beyond “hundreds.” The grocer already sold Plated in 20 Safeway-branded stores in California, along with 20 Jewel-Osco stores in the Chicago area as of April. The meal kits are created by a team headed up by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef. Customers in Albertsons stores will be able to buy such meals as roasted chicken au jus with orzo and peas.
The news also comes as Walmart has begun selling meal kits and “one-step meals” in more than 250 of its brick-and-mortar stores. Walmart plans to bring the meals to 2,000 of its locations in 2018, CNBC reported. Tyler Lehr, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of deli services for Walmart U.S., has said, “These delicious meals give the best or worst of cooks a fresh, easy option for dinner tonight or later this week.”
In addition, Blue Apron is working with Costco to sell meal kits that were specifically designed for the retailer in its locations in the Pacific Northwest and the San Francisco Bay area. Blue Apron CEO Brad Dickerson said the on-demand meal kit pilot program builds on Blue Apron’s existing relationship with Costco (Blue Apron has a gift card business with Costco, for example).